Skaters Branch Out into Europe, Interactive Family Entertainment

In an unlikely move, perhaps inspired by the antics of their undoubted hero Tony Hawk, I’m delighted to report that those voice-manipulating scoundrels Skaters have gone ahead and produced a video game of their own! I’m lucky enough to have a copy, and you square-eyed shitheels have definitely never played NO game like this before.

First of all, you’ve got to kneel down to play. It’s super-important, though, that you face away from the TV when kneeling, to get the full "you are The Skaters and you are playing LIVE in front of 16 people" experience. First step before you play is to attach some included sensor thingies to your head, and instead of using your bog-standard controller, you are given an analog box with a shitload of knobs. You have no idea what the individual knobs do prior to playing, which of course mirrors The Skaters’ own approach to their equipment. Then the fun begins! As you start the game, you stoop forward on your knees and, perfectly rhythmically, bob your head up and down. Then, you start groaning looong and loooouuud into a three-dollar mic (also included with the game), all the while furiously twiddling the aforementioned knobs back and forth. The object of the game, of course, is to produce drones which are as impenetrably murky and twisted as you can manage, whilst maintaining a diligent and forceful regimen of head-nodding. I found doing the two things at once rather difficult, but man, it was so KILLER trying! Naturally, turning around to look at the TV screen at any point will be picked up by the head sensors and results in the immediate end of the game.

The game is being produced by Fag Games, is only available for the Atari Jaguar system, and is limited to a single pressing of 57 hand-numbered and spray-painted copies. As a bonus, if you live in the Ypsilanti area, John Olsen’ll come round and custom spray-paint your game console for you, if your parents will let him in. Unfortunately -- you knew this was coming, diddentcha? -- the game is pretty much sold out right now. But hope remains for you Skaters-lovin’ dudes over in old Europa town. You might be able to pick up a copy on their EUROPEAN TOUR which starts today! Just saunter on up to the merch desk and ask those dudes if they have any copies of the game left.

Complete walkthrough:
06.15.07 - London, UK - Whitechapel Art Gallery
06.16.07 - Leeds, UK - Holy Trinity Church (w/Sunroof!)
06.17.07 - Nottingham, UK - Rose Of England
06.18.07 - Sheffield, UK - Red House
06.22.07 - Brussels, Belgium - Bunker
06.23.07 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - OCII
06.24.07 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - VPRO radio show
06.25.07 - Den Haag, Netherlands - Helbaard
06.26.07 - Paris, France - Instants Chavires (w/Taurpis Tula)
06.27.07 - Bordeaux, France - La Centralle
06.28.07 - Bilbao, Spain - Openmem
06.30.07 - Lisbon, Portugal - Galeria Zé dos Bois (w/Taurpis Tula)
07.01.07 - Lisbon, Portugal - Galeria Zé dos Bois

All dates also with Tight Meat Duo and Heather Leigh

Daft Punk Become Human After All, Following Electroma Screenings and a DVD Release on Vice; Short Circuit 2 is Still an Awesome Movie

Plot Outline #1 - Two robots go on a quest to become humans.

Plot Outline #2 - In a dystopic and crime ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg with submerged memories haunting him.

Plot Outline #3 - A robot wants to become human as he gains human emotions more and more.

Plot Outline #4 - Robot Johnny Five comes to the city and gets manipulated by criminals who want him for their own purposes.

Plot Outline #5 - A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become "real" so he can regain the love of his human mother.

Plot Outlines 1-5 are either the films Robocop, A.I., Bicentinal Man, Short Circuit 2, or the new Daft Punk film Electroma. The answer is:

All of those plots were Short Circuit 2, i.e., the best film ever made. Too bad there hasn't been a funny robot movie in a while. Rush Hour 3 better just be robots, or I am going to kill myself violently in a Starbucks in front of all of my friends and family. Perhaps I should calm down though, seeing as there is at least one robot film to look forward to this summer. Uh, no. Not Transformers. Did you know Michael Bay is already promising up to a 5th Transformers sequel? Yeah, what a douche!

Anyway, you can be relieved with the release of the robot meets indie/art film, Electroma, which features the quest of two robotic forms of Daft Punk to become humans. The 74-minute film was written and directed by the French House duo (Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter) themselves. The screening at last year's Cannes Film Festival caused people to leave during the drawn-out desert/hiking scene, which led critics to unabashedly compare the film to Vincent Gallo's shit-tank of cinematic incompetence, The Brown Bunny. Unless a film is staring Vince Vaughn, it can no longer be praised. Fortunately, there have been better receptions this year at Paris showings, applauding the film for its style and soundtrack.

Although I know you're bummed there is no theatrical re-release of Short Circuit 2 or even a cleverly done Bicentennial Man 2: The Attack of Flubber, you can still get your "robot on" by checking out one of the few American or Canadian screenings this summer or waiting until the DVD is released this fall on Vice in America and on Aztec International Entertainment in Australia.

Screening Dates for Electroma:
06.28.07 - Calgary, Canada - Stride Gallery (Sled Island Festival)
06.29.07 - Los Angeles, CA - New Beverly Cinema
07.28.07 - Miami, FL - Studio A
09.08.07 - Montreal, Canada - Osheaga Festival At Parc Jean-Drapeau
09.09.07 - Montreal, Canada - Osheaga Festival At Parc Jean-Drapeau

Jack White Is Not Quite Perfect; The White Stripes Reschedule Dates, Still Rule The World

It is impossible to deny that Jack White has ruled the 21st century. Player hate on him, he'll beat your face in. Consistent, tough as nails, rich, fortunate, and prolific -- Jack White is all of these things. Let's go over some of his more recent accomplishments and then you try and tell me he isn't the rock star of our generation. I want to start with what I like to consider the turning point in White's career, when he made the transition from novelty sideshow freak to immortal and untouchable:

- After getting paid to record the Von Bondies album, White pounded lead Bondie Jason Somethingorother until the dude looked like a swollen red apple that got mauled by a rottweiler.

Then,

- The Flaming Lips wrote a song about Jack White.

- Electric Six paid White $60,000 (!) to sing on one fucking song.

- He wrote music for the soundtrack and acted in Cold Mountain. Picked up Renée Zellweger and another paycheck in the process.

- White broke his hand in a car accident and had the surgery taped -- and people watched.

- The man married a model and had a baby.

- White recorded a song for a Coca-Cola commercial that ended up being the best jingle I've heard in years. The ad aired once or twice but Jack laughed all the way to the bank.

- Got sick of Meg, called the boys, hung out, dropped The Raconteurs' Broken Boy Soldiers.

- Icky Thump, The White Stripes' new album, comes out June 19 and has already been deemed SPIN and Rolling Stone's number 1 album of 2007.

I think you get the idea; this man is hot shit. Surprisingly, he's also human and has put some morons in charge of his touring schedule. As a result, The White Stripes were forced to cancel a chunk of their upcoming tour, but in typical fashion, White comes out on top, rescheduling all of the dates. And there are a lot of them. The White Stripes will play a free show in Los Angeles for about 200 fans next Wednesday, one day after playing a record-release show at New York's Filmore. Tickets for the New York show go on sale 10 A.M. on Saturday at the Irving Plaza box office. New York, LA, then the world:
06.17.07 - Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo Festival
06.19.07 - New York, NY - The Filmore (Mescalito Holmes)
06.20.07 - Los Angeles, CA - Free Everywhere!
06.24.07 - Burnaby, British Columbia - Deer Lake Park
06.25.07 - Whitehorse, Yukon - Yukon Arts Centre
06.26.07 - Yellowknife, Northwest Territories - Shorty Brown Multiplex Arena
06.27.07 - Iqaluit, Nunavut - Arctic Winter Games Arena
06.29.07 - Calgary, Alberta - Pengrowth Saddledome
06.30.07 - Edmonton, Alberta - Shaw Convention Center
07.01.07 - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - TCU Place
07.02.07 - Winnipeg, Manitoba - MTS Centre
07.03.07 - hunder Bay, Ontario - Community Auditorium
07.05.07 - Toronto, Ontario - Molson Amphitheatre
07.06.07 - Montreal, Quebec - Bell Centre
07.07.07 - London, Ontario - John Labatt Centre
07.08.07 - Ottawa, Ontario - LeBreton Flats Park Ottawa Bluesfest
07.10.07 - Moncton, New Brunswick - Moncton Coliseum Arena
07.11.07 - Charlottetown, Price Edward Island - Charlottetown Civic Centre
07.13.07 - Halifax, Nova Scotia - Cunard Centre
07.14.07 - Glace Bay, Nova Scotia - Savoy Theatre
07.16.07 - St. John's, Newfoundland - Mile One Center
07.22.07 - Portland, ME - Cumberland Civic Center
07.23.07 - Boston, MA - Agganis Arena
07.24.07 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden +
07.25.07 - Wallingford, CT - Chevrolet Theater
07.27.07 - Wilmington, DE - Grand Opera House
07.28.07 - Fairfax, VA - Patriot Center
07.29.07 - North Myrtle Beach, SC - House of Blues
07.30.07 - Birmingham, AL - Sloss Furnaces
07.31.07 - Southaven, MS - Snowden Grove Park Amphitheater
09.16.07 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits
09.19.07 - 19 Inglewood, CA - The Forum
09.21.07 - 21 Berkeley, CA - Greek Theatre
09.24.07 - 24 Anchorage, AK - William A. Egan Civic Center
09.26.07 - 26 Seattle, WA - Paramount Ballroom
09.27.07 - 27 Seattle, WA - Paramount Ballroom
09.28.07 - 28 Boise, ID - Idaho Center Theater
09.29.07 - Salt Lake City, UT - The "E" Center
09.30.07 - Jackson Hole, WY - Snow King Center
10.02.07 - Rapid City, SD - Rushmore Plaza Civic Center
10.03.07 - Fargo, ND - Fargo Civic Auditorium
10.04.07 - Lincoln, NE - Pershing Center Auditorium
10.06.07 - Chicago, IL - Aragon Ballroom
10.07.07 - Chicago, IL - Aragon Ballroom

Respect.

Gary Hustwit Releases a Film on Helvetica Font; Consider This an Extended Love Note I Left on the Fridge Because I Don’t Want to Stay Home and Cuddle with You Tonight; But, Seriously, I’m Really Invested in “Us”

Hey Reader, Baby, Sweetheart --

The thing is: we’re busy people, you and I. I’m surprised we’re making it work. I’m glad, though. I’m glad I have you to come home to, to share things with.

Relationships are about sacrifice, baby. I hope you liked the flowers I had sent to your office today, baby. Yellow roses, baby. Your favorite.

I know you wanted it to be just us tonight, reader, but, the thing is, I have plans in five minutes just itching with prospective HOOK UPZ, drinkin’, and puppy-saving.

I’d never lie to you. You know that.

Here’s the straight story, so I can get on out and you can position yourself on the couch waiting for my return. I think Fresh Prince is on.

I won’t be gone long. I promise.

THE STRAIGHT STORY, BABY:

Filmmaker Gary Hustwit (his past work includes High Tech Soul and Wilco’s I Am Trying to Break Your Heart) debuted Helvetica at the South by Southwest Film Festival to a sold-out audience in March. Not his typical music documentary, Helvetica is about the omnipresent typeface. Want tickets? Check the global screening tour. Read more at this website.

I hope you loved those yellow roses, reader, baby, sweetheart, xoxo,

P.S. It’s the 50th anniversary of the typeface this year, baby. Champagne? More yellow roses?

Maybe Principal Vernon was right. Maybe Judd Nelson’s’ character in The Breakfast Club really was a “gutless turd.” Silber Records to stand up for dads everywhere with Father’s Day e-zine.

“Stupid, worthless, no good, goddamn, freeloading son of a bitch. Retarded, big mouth, know-it-all, asshole, jerk.” “You forgot ugly, lazy and disrespectful.” “Shut up bitch. Go fix me a turkey pot pie.” “No Dad, what about you?” “Fuck you.” “No Dad, what about you?” “Fuck you.” “Dad, what about you?” “Fuck you!”

Most dads are not like the one described by "John Bender" in The Breakfast Club. With Father’s Day rapidly approaching, most of us are not concerned with corny but classic John Hughes films, but are instead racing to find something for our dear old coot before Sunday so he’ll go one more year without writing us out of his will. It is not as easy as it seems. The tough question confronting almost everyone every June isn’t if you’ll buy your dad a goodie for Father’s Day, but what to get him? Do you go for the golf-related, desk organizing asinine knick-knack from Den For Men? No, you got him that idiotic prezzie five years running. A tie? Nope, Dad doesn’t wear a tie at IHOP's dish-pit. A Shrek the Third or Orlando Bloom Pirates...: At World’s End beach towel (Wal-Mart is out of those featuring Depp)? A novel idea, but too risky perhaps. Do you really want your dad parading over white sand with such a passé movie tie-in draped over his liver-spotted wrinklefest? What can we buy our fathers for his big day, oh gift pixies, what?

Silber Records, our favorite family-first labels, doesn't have a clear-cut answer to this quandary but has something to read that will make Sunday go a bit easier. The label’s latest zine “QRD” is an online one devoted to musicians who are also fathers and their views concerning the oft-complicated balancing of full-time papa-ing and full-time music-making. “QRD” #33 will eventually include a Q&A with Colin Newman (Wire) and currently contains interviews with Alan Sparhawk (Low), Chris Olley (Six by Seven), Joe Kendrick (of WNCW radio), and many more with fatherly folk from the label’s killer roster of bands. It’s worth a try. It will certainly put a smile on your mug, which you will surely need after you see your dad’s face when he opens your present of a “Who Farted?” t-shirt.

Weasel Walter Whets Our Whistle With Free-Wheeling Wheezing and Whelps

The many-years-my-senior chef at the restaurant I used to work at asked me one night if I knew who The Flying Luttenbachers were. I replied that I did indeed, and that I had, in fact, seen them the night before. He immediately grew upset. "Why didn't you tell me about it?" he whined.

I don't remember why, exactly, I didn't tell him. I think part of it was an assumption that people had no interest in that sort of thing. By sort of thing, I mean Weasel Walter — the brains of the outfit, wearing a militaristic uniform, complete with a pair of S.S. pants and aviator sunglasses, pummeling on a tiny, cheap-looking drum kit, erstwhile leading a rag-tag crew of guitar shredders. I also didn't want to be hanging out with someone many years my senior, lest people get the wrong idea. I told the chef that the show sucked anyhow.

I went to the show with Phil, a peer of mine — a friend — and I had an absolute blast. After the show, I told Phil that I thought the show sucked, apologetic that he had spent $5 he ordinarily wouldn't have, especially on a bunch of brash, almost prog-rock, brak-noise. Phil loved the show and said he thought it was awesome people would do such a thing. I wasn't going to take my words back, you know, be a liar, so I just maintained that the show "sucked."

Anyway, though I had seen The Flying Luttenbachers before and knew what I was in for, I didn't know that Weasel Walter was so accomplished, a jack-of-all-trades.

In addition to high B.P.M. on the drums, Weasel is a bass clarinetist, guitarist, saxophonist, bassist, mellotronist, electronics wizard (knob-twiddler), and all-around wanker. He also has a reputation that precedes him, in the most endearing way -- and heads up To Live and Shave in L.A. 2, To Live and Shave in L.A.'s splinter group with Misty Martinez, Nandor Nevai, and Rat Bastard.

Fans of noise, free jazz, no wave, and experimental music would be well-informed to know of Weasel Walter's new CD Early Recordings: 1988-1991 out on Lyon, France's Savageland Records. The album is a collection of pre-The Flying Luttenbachers mayhem, showcasing all of Walter's instrumental talents.

What's more, Walter Weasel will be screeching in Oakland and San Fancisco on select dates with select musicians in myriad improvised forms:
06.16.07 - Oakland, CA - 21 Grand

●The Bangs: Jacob Lindsay (Clarinets), Ava Mendoza (Guitar), Damon Smith (7-String Ergo Bass), Weasel Walter (Percussion)

●Jacob Lindsay conducts an ensemble including Kristian Aspelin (Guitar), Matt Davignon (turntable), Phillip Greenlief (reeds), Scott R. Looney (electronics), Ava Mendoza (guitar), Kinoko Nishi (koto), David Slusser (winds), Damon Smith, (double bass), Weasel Walter (Percussion)
06.24.07 - San Francisco, CA - Musicians Union Hall

● Kristian Aspelin Group: Weasel Walter (drums), Kristian Aspelin (guitar), Scott R. Looney (electronics), Damon Smith (bass)
06.26.07 - Oakland, CA - 21 Grand

●Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly!

●Weasel Walter Clarinet Choir: Weasel Walter (percussion, clarinets), Jacob Lindsay (clarinets), Aram Shelton (bass clarinet), Damon Smith (cello), Alan Anzalone (alto clarinet), David Slusser (bass clarinet, sluss-o-matic)

●Scott Amendola/Matthias Bossi Duo
06.27.07 - San Francisco, CA - Hemlock Tavern

●Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly!

●Weasel Walter Quartet

●Wendy Atkinson (solo bass guitar)
06.30.07 - Oakland, CA - 21 Grand

Lou Harrison Tribute Concert featuring:

●Weasel Walter's Cellular Chaos (WW on guitar, William Winant, Mark E. Miller, Damon Smith)

●William Winant and percussionists performing on the instruments designed and built by Lou Harrison and William Colvig.

●f.u.b.a.r. 1 (John Hanes, M.E. Miller and Henry Kaiser) Film backdrop provided by Heike Liss
07.05.07 - San Francisco, CA - Hemlock Tavern

●William Hooker (with Damon Smith and Oluyemi Thomas)

●Weasel Walter, Aram Shelton, Liz Allbee Trio
07.17.07 - Oakland, CA - 21 Grand

●Ahleuchatistas (Cuneiform Records)

●Henry Kaiser

●Weasel Walter Ensemble

  

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